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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The inbox of a music blogger...

Not long ago musician Amanda Palmer did a really insightful blog post in which she wrote about each email in her inbox in excruciating detail. It was fascinating to see the messages from her friends, fans, and management team. So I thought it would be fun to do something similar from the perspective of a blogger, in case anybody is interested.

My inbox is not nearly as flooded as hers, but I do get around 30 emails a day related to my music writing gig. When I first started blogging, it was cool to get the occasional message from a publicist. Now, they're mostly annoying.

So here's a random sampling from a recent day last month. Welcome to the inbox of a music blogger...

Email #1: Email from Jason Webley, a musician I interviewed for another site, apologizing for missing my guest list request and asking if I got into the show. I reply yes, and the show was fun.

Email #2: Email from a local Pittsburgh band I'm not familiar with asking me to check out their new record and consider it for coverage. I'd love to listen to every Pittsburgh band but my writing schedule is so crazy these days that, sadly, I do not have the time. Send polite reply declining coverage and encouraging the band to check out the other Pittsburgh music blogs in my sidebar, as many of them do a great job covering the local scene.

Email #3: Email from a publicity company pimping an up-and-coming band, Kaiser Cartel, and asking if I want to attend a show. I promise myself I'll look them up later and see if they're interesting enough for me to want to attend. File email in special "PR" folder.

Emails #4-6: Promotional emails from some mailing lists I never joined. Scan subject lines for anything of interest, delete unread.

Email #7: Message from publicist confirming my upcoming interview with Hawthorne Heights. Remind myself to start putting together a list of questions.

Email #8: Invitation to an upcoming rock show at the Burgettstown pavilion. I'm somewhat interested but won't be able to attend. Wish I had more of a "staff" so I could send someone else. File away email.

Email #9: Another press release about an artist I've never heard of. But it's from the PR company that does the Pitchfork Music Festival, so I open it and see if there's anything interesting in it. I'd like to cover some of the artists for this company, to get on their good side. This message doesn't interest me, though. Delete.

Email #10: Personal message from another local artist, a female rapper. This sounds interesting so I click on some of the links within, only to discover this girl works for Nakturnal, a local publicity agency. They promoted a show last year by Snoop Dogg and I had attempted to interview someone at the agency for a blog post here. At first they were agreeable but later they didn't return my call. So I'm not going to give this girl any press. Sorry, what goes around comes around! Delete.

Emails #11-13: More unsolicited press releases from publicity agencies. Scan subject lines, open one message that sounds vaguely interesting, then delete all.

Email #14: Email from Josh at Drusky Entertainment about a just-announced local show. I've never met Josh but he's one of my favorite local music people as he is really on the ball when it comes to internet promotion. This particular concert isn't one I want to write about (Candlebox? They're still touring?), so I file the email away.

Email #15: Press release from Warner Music Group about one of their artists. I sent them an interview request months ago - I don't even remember who it was for. And they never responded. But they did add me to their email list. I hate when that happens. But I'm not going to unsubscribe; being on a major-label mailing list could prove useful at some point.

Email #16: Personal email from some unknown musician from Europe. I love when they include a line like, "I'm a fan of your blog and I thought you might be interested in my record..." That's such a transparent lie. You are not a fan of my blog! Delete.

Email #17: Press release about Rusted Root performance. Consider for a moment whether I'd be interested in interviewing them. Negative, I decide. File away email.

Email #18: PR email about Buckcherry recording a single for oil spill relief. I get Buckcherry emails all the time. Their publicists go all-out. I was once supposed to sit in on a Buckcherry telephone conference call interview but sadly something came up and I couldn't make it.

Email #19: PR message about the Afro-Punk Festival in Brooklyn. Sounds interesting, Bad Brains and Cool Kids will be there. But I don't live in New York. Delete.

Email #20: PR message from Shorefire titled "Jukebox the Ghost plays all 5 NYC boroughs today." Now that's interesting enough to read. It's not something I'd write about though, specially with the short notice. File in PR folder.

Email #21: PR email about a Reel Big Fish greatest hits album. Good for them. Delete.

Email #22: Press release from the publicist of Amanda Palmer herself, about her new album of Radiohead covers. The letter describes Amanda as "un-pin-downable," probably the best adjective I've heard used to describe her. File email in "PR" folder.

Email #23: Message from someone who is apparently Joy Ike's new publicist. It's cool to see she is getting some representation. Except they misspelled her city as "Pittsburg" in the email. Epic publicist fail!

Email #24: A message selling Andrew WK & GG Allin "throbbleheads." The photos make them look just like bobbleheads, so I'm not sure what the distinction is. I like Andrew WK but I have no interest in buying one. Delete.

And that's all I feel like writing about today. I can't wait to see what tomorrow's inbox has in store!


HughshowsRedux said...

Interesting post Scott. I can definitely relate although on a much smaller scale.
I am still in the 'appreciative' phase when it comes to submissions for the blog in that it seems I am considered the lonely step child of Pittsburgh bloggers since I don't focus on writing therefore, publicists aren't breaking down my door (or should I say inbox).
What I am finding is that more and more bands (indie as well as established) and labels are discovering that blogs are relevant to promote the shows than when I started doing this.
And speaking of Josh and Drusky, not only is he tech savvy in terms of marketing, he might be THE nicest guy I have met so far in the business.

Scott said...

Yeah, the indie bands definitely utilize blogs - the smart ones, anyway.

BNAC said...

Scott, LOVED THIS! While I haven't been doing this as long, I get tons of emails like this. For a while I was letting people send me CDs but it became hard to find enough words to write about all of them. And I agree with Hugh and You...Drusky has their shit together in terms of love for the blogs!